Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians


June 13, 2012

Attorney General Kelly and PSP announce arrests in "Operation Texas Twins;" $100,000 Texas to northwestern PA marijuana trafficking network

Operation Texas TwinsHARRISBURG - Agents from the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and Pennsylvania State Police have filed criminal charges against nine individuals linked to an organization allegedly responsible for shipping large quantities of marijuana from Texas to northwestern Pennsylvania.

Attorney General Linda Kelly said the grand jury investigation, known as "Operation Texas Twins," identified two brothers - Marcelino Rodriguez, of Eddy, Texas and Miguel Rodriguez, of Corpus Christi - accused of coordinating the transportation and distribution of as much as 20 pounds of marijuana per month, over a two year period of time. 

According to the grand jury, Miguel Rodriguez operated from Texas, communicating with his brother Marcelino and other associates by telephone in order to arrange the shipment of drugs to Pennsylvania and the transfer of money back to Texas.

Kelly said the Rodriguez brothers were allegedly assisted by Robert Karl Conaway, who is accused of assisting in the distribution of marijuana in and around Crawford County.

"This was a coordinated effort to move significant quantities of drugs into communities across northwestern Pennsylvania which continued even after key figures were arrested and jailed," Kelly said.

Kelly noted that Marcelino Rodriguez and Robert Conaway were arrested in Crawford County in August 2010, on unrelated warrants, but the two allegedly attempted to continue operating their drug organization from inside the prison.

The grand jury found that Rodriguez and Conaway made numerous telephone calls from inside the prison, which were recorded for monitoring by law enforcement.

Kelly said that agents from the Attorney General's Office and Pennsylvania State Police used information from those calls, along with surveillance, confidential informants, the review of financial records from wire transfer services and other investigative techniques to identify other associates who allegedly assisted in the operation of this drug organization.

Adam Wood, of Venango, is accused of assisting in the distribution of marijuana, including the retrieval of drugs and cash from a vehicle that had been left in the parking lot of a motel in Meadville when Conaway and Rodriguez were arrested in 2010.

Kelly said that in phone calls recorded at the Crawford County Prison, Conaway, Rodriguez and Wood allegedly discussed the status of drug sales, including the fact that Wood had six pounds of marijuana remaining and that Miguel Rodriguez was still owed $4,000.  They also allegedly reviewed the correct prices that should be charged for different quantities of the drug.

According to the grand jury, Elizabeth Bevilheimer, of Saegertown - the girlfriend of Adam Wood - assisted in the recovery of the car that Conaway and Rodriguez were driving when they were arrested.  Bevilheimer was also allegedly involved in at least eight wire transfers of money to Texas, totaling more than $15,000, and was overheard in recorded prison phone calls complaining that she was not getting enough money for the work that she was performing.

Kelly said that Pamela Barrientos, of Eddy, Texas, allegedly acted as a distributor of funds for the organization - receiving thousands of dollars in wire transfers and then communicating by phone with Marcelino Rodriguez about how much money different participants should be making from the drug transactions.  Calls between Rodriguez and other parties also included instructions to "send all the Pennsylvania money to Pamela."

According to the criminal charges, Laura Rodriguez, of Chilton, Texas - sister of Marcelino and Miguel - assisted in the transfer of drug funds.  She was heard on intercepted prison telephone calls with Marcelino Rodriguez discussing the sale price of marijuana being sold in Pennsylvania, New York and Georgia.

The grand jury found that Jeramie Ebbert, of Meadville, served as the recipient of marijuana shipments from Texas and assisted with the sale of drugs to street-level buyers.

Kelly said that Silas Mark Deets, of Venango, was allegedly paid to receive shipments of marijuana from Texas which were arranged by Conaway.  One of those deliveries to Deets, containing approximately 4.5 kilos of marijuana, was intercepted by U.S. Postal Inspectors. Deets was allegedly paid with cash and drugs to pick up the packages. 

"This was a significant organization on many levels," Kelly said, "involving cross-country shipment of large quantities of high-grade marijuana, the movement of more than $100,000 in drug payments and the long-distance coordination of numerous drug deals over many years."

Kelly noted that in conjunction with today's filing of charges in Pennsylvania, authorities in Texas are executing search and arrest warrants as part of a continuing investigation to identify the original sources for the marijuana involved in this case.

The criminal charges were filed today before Saegertown, Crawford County, Magisterial District Judge Lincoln S. Zilhaver.

The defendants will be prosecuted in Crawford County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Douglas J. Wright of the Attorney General?s Drug Strike Force Section.

Kelly thanked the Pennsylvania State Police, Crawford County District Attorney's Office, Erie County District Attorney's Office, Crawford County Sheriff's Office, the Northwest Drug Task Force, United States Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation.

Marcelino Rodriguez, 29, Eddy, Texas, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, both first-degree felonies each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine; one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine; one count of delivery of a controlled substance, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; one count of possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine; one count of criminal conspiracy, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and one count of criminal use of a communications facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Miguel Rodriguez, 29, Corpus Christi, Texas, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, both first-degree felonies each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine; one count of delivery of a controlled substance, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; one count of possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine; one count of delivery of a controlled substance, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; one count of criminal conspiracy, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; one count of criminal use of a communications facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Robert Karl Conaway, 29, address unknown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, both first-degree felonies each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 fines; three counts of delivery of a controlled substance, all felonies which are each punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; two counts of possession of a controlled substance, both misdemeanors each punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine; one count of criminal conspiracy, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; one count of criminal use of a communications facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Adam Wood, 25, 20412 Main St., Venango, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, both first-degree felonies each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 fines; one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine; one count of delivery of a controlled substance, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; one count of possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine; one count of criminal conspiracy, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and one count of criminal use of a communications facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Elizabeth Ann Bevilheimer, 25, Saegertown, is charged with one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine; one count of criminal use of a communications facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and one count of criminal conspiracy, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Pamela Barrientos, 25, Eddy, Texas, is charged with one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine; one count of criminal use of a communications facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and one count of criminal conspiracy, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Laura Rodriguez, 30, Chilton, Texas, is charged with one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine; one count of criminal use of a communications facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and one count of criminal conspiracy, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Jeramie John Ebbert, 25, 1108 South Main St., Meadville, is charged with one count of delivery of marijuana, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; one count of possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine; one count of criminal use of a communications facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and one count of criminal conspiracy, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Silas Mark Deets, 60, 21658 Cussewago Road, Venango, is charged with one count of criminal conspiracy, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine and one count of criminal use of a communications facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)
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